Babylon Berlin

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Babylon Berlin
Babylon Berlin.png
Genre Neo-noir
Thriller
Period drama
Created by Tom Tykwer
Achim von Borries
Henk Handloegten
Written byHenk Handloegten
Achim von Borries
Tom Tykwer
Directed byHenk Handloegten
Achim von Borries
Tom Tykwer
Starring Volker Bruch
Liv Lisa Fries
Theme music composer Tom Tykwer
Johnny Klimek
Reinhold Heil
Kristjan Järvi
Gene Pritsker
Country of originGermany
Original languagesGerman, Russian
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes28
Production
ProducersStefan Arndt
Uwe Schott
Michael Polle
Running time45 minutes
Production companyX Filme Creative Pool
Release
Original network Sky 1, Das Erste
Original release13 October 2017 (2017-10-13) 
present
External links
Website

Babylon Berlin is a German neo-noir television series. It is created, written and directed by Tom Tykwer, Achim von Borries and Hendrik Handloegten, based on novels by German author Volker Kutscher. The series takes place in Berlin during the Weimar Republic, starting in 1929. It follows Gereon Rath, a police inspector on assignment from Cologne who is on a secret mission to dismantle an extortion ring, and Charlotte Ritter, police clerk by day, flapper by night, who is aspiring to become a police inspector.

Contents

The series premiered on 13 October 2017 on Sky 1, a German-language entertainment channel broadcast by Sky Deutschland. The first release consisted of a continuous run of sixteen episodes, with the first eight officially known as Season 1, and the second eight known as Season 2. Netflix released the first two seasons in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The second run of twelve episodes, officially known as Season 3, premiered on 24 January 2020 on Sky 1. [1] A fourth season, set in mid-1931, is planned for 2021.

Cast

Main

Recurring

Production

Development

The series was co-directed by Tom Tykwer, Hendrik Handloegten  [ de ], and Achim von Borries, who also wrote the scripts. The first two seasons of the show were filmed over eight months beginning in May 2016.

German public broadcaster ARD and pay TV channel Sky co-produced the series, a first time collaboration in German television.[ citation needed ] As part of the arrangement, Sky broadcast the series first, and ARD started broadcasts by free-to-air television on 30 September 2018. Netflix purchased rights for the United States, Canada, and Australia, where the series became available in 2018 with English dubbing and subtitles. [4]

The series is described as the most expensive television drama series in Germany, with a budget of €40 million that increased to €55 million due to reshoots. [5]

Later seasons

After a year-long production hiatus, the show resumed production in late 2018 with an extended six-month shoot for the third season of Babylon Berlin; filming was completed in May 2019. [6] [7] At the 32nd European Film Awards in December 2019, showrunners Achim von Borries, Henk Handloegten and Tom Tykwer stated that the third season was in post-production and that a fourth season is planned. [8]

The third season was developed loosely around the second novel in Volker Kutscher's trilogy The Silent Death. The showrunners chose to diverge from the source material to better address the social and political unrest during the time period as they felt that Weimar Republic is often overlooked by both media and historical sources. [9] The third season is set in late 1929 around the Black Tuesday stock market crash and navigates the rise of the subversive Black Reichswehr and Communist political groups as well as the advent of talkies.

In a January 2020 interview with Berliner Zeitung, actress Liv Lisa Fries said that production will likely begin on the fourth season in late 2020 or early 2021. [10]

Planning and writing for the fourth season, based on the novel Goldstein, which is set in mid-1931, began in October 2020. Filming is expected to start in early 2021. [11]

Era

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal , one of the show's co-creators, Tom Tykwer, spoke about the era:

“At the time people did not realize how absolutely unstable this new construction of society which the Weimar Republic represented was. It interested us because the fragility of democracy has been put to the test quite profoundly in recent years... By 1929, new opportunities were arising. Women had more possibilities to take part in society, especially in the labour market as Berlin became crowded with new thinking, new art, theatre, music and journalistic writing." Nonetheless, Tykwer insisted that he and his co-directors were determined not to idealize the Weimar Republic. "People tend to forget that it was also a very rough era in German history. There was a lot of poverty, and people who had survived the war were suffering from a great deal of trauma." [12]

In the first season, Communists, Soviets and especially Trotskyists play a prominent role (the Soviet ambassador to Germany from 1923 to 1930 was former Trotsky ally Nikolay Krestinsky). The show depicts what became known as Blutmai, violence between Communist demonstrators and members of the Berlin Police in early May 1929, [13] and extra-legal paramilitary formations promoted by the German army, known as the Black Reichswehr. [14] In the first season, the Soviet ambassador in Berlin, who appears to be a loyal Stalinist, is involved in the massacre of Trotskyists in the printing shop, who were buried in a mass grave outside the city. According to Nathaniel Flakin, this event never happened. [15] Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, on the other hand, is only mentioned in passing during the first two seasons of Babylon Berlin. [16]

Locations

The Babelsberg Studio created an addition to its Metropolitan Backlot for the filming of the series and for future productions, [17] in form of a large permanent standing set, lauded by the company as one of the largest in Europe. [18] The set includes representations of various neighbourhoods of Berlin, including the prevailing economic classes, and also includes the large exterior of the night club Moka Efti. [19] In addition, the series was filmed throughout Berlin and at other locations in Germany. Numerous scenes were filmed on Alexanderplatz in front of the historic Alexanderhaus  [ de ]. The police headquarters, once located directly behind it, and other surrounding buildings, were destroyed in WWII, but were recreated with computer simulations. The Rotes Rathaus (Berlin City Hall) was used for most closeup scenes involving the exterior of the police headquarters, because their red brick appearance and architectural style are very similar. Interiors of the police headquarters lobby were filmed at the Rathaus Schöneberg, including scenes with its paternoster elevator, while the elegant Ratskeller restaurant in the same building was used as the nearby café Aschinger [20] in multiple scenes. Interior scenes in the Moka Efti were filmed at the Delphi Cinema [21] in Berlin-Weissensee. A lengthy suspense sequence set during a performance of The Threepenny Opera , was filmed at the historic Theater am Schiffbauerdamm, where the play actually ran at the time. Other scenes were filmed on Museum Island and in the Hermannplatz U-Bahn station in Berlin, and the Church of the Redeemer on the Havel river in Potsdam. The scenes set on the estate of the Nyssen family were filmed at Schloss Drachenburg, a castle in the Rhineland. Scenes involving a steam train were filmed at the Bavarian Railway Museum near Nördlingen.

Music

In 2018, the show formed an in-house band to perform the original music of the show, The Moka Efti Orchestra. The group plays period-era music in a variety of styles ranging from ragtime to klezmer. Named after the nightclub featured in Babylon Berlin, The Moka Efti Orchestra is a fourteen-member group and is fronted by the Lithuanian actress Severija Janušauskaitė as Svetlana Sorokina. In the first double episode of the first season, Janušauskaitė's character, crossdressing as the male singer Nikoros, performs the main theme of the series, "Zu Asche, zu Staub" in the Moka Efti cabaret. This song was later released under the pseudonym "Severija" and charted on the German singles chart. [22]

The group performed in concert in May 2018 and, due to popular demand, toured the country later that year. With the release of the third season of the show, the musical group released their debut album Erstausgabe (English: First Edition). [22]

In addition to period music, "Dance Away", from the 1979 album Manifesto by Roxy Music, plays occasionally in the background (adapted to the style of the period) and also included is an adaptation of "These Foolish Things" and, in the Season Two finale, a Russian version of "Gloomy Sunday". Singer Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music appears toward the end of the first season as a cabaret singer performing "Bitter-Sweet", from the 1974 album Country Life .

The climax scene of season two takes place during a performance of Three Penny Opera. The song "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer" ("The Ballad of Mack the Knife") is featured in that scene, and also as a plot device. Two different characters hum the tune, giving detective Rath clues to the unfolding plot.

Broadcast

Babylon Berlin premiered in Germany on 13 October 2017 (Sky 1) and in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, 5 November 2017 (Sky Atlantic). [23] The series debuted in Australia, Canada, and the United States on 30 January 2018 (Netflix). [24] Broadcasting on the German TV channel Das Erste started Sunday 30 September 2018. [25] The Swedish broadcast began on 19 June 2019 on SVT. [26]

After early indications of a late 2019 premiere, [4] the third season premiered in Germany on Sky 1 in January 2020; [4] and subsequently on German public television station ARD in October 2020. [27] The international distribution rights for the third season were sold to more than one hundred countries and many different networks including Netflix, HBO Europe, and Viasat in early 2019. [4] [27]

In territories where the show is distributed by Netflix, the third season was released in its entirety on 1 March 2020. [28] [29] [30]

Episodes

The first and second seasons, of eight episodes each, were written as one complete story (covering the first novel of the Kutscher book series) and filmed as one continuous production. [31] They premiered as one unbroken block, numbered 1-16, [32] and have been broadcast throughout the world as one block. In addition, all 16 episodes of both seasons were made available simultaneously on Netflix. [33] However, in many territories the show was broadcast as a single season comprising eight double-length episodes.

The second block of 12 episodes are officially known as Season 3 [34] but will be broadcast as Season 2 in those territories where the previous episodes premiered as a single unbroken block. [35]

Season 1 (2017)

All episodes were written and directed by Henk Handloegten, Achim von Borries, and Tom Tykwer.

No.TitleOriginal release date
1"Episode 1"13 October 2017 (2017-10-13)
In April 1929, a train bound for Berlin has to stop near Novorzhev due to a burning tree lying on the rails. The engine driver and a train worker are ambushed by several armed, Russian-speaking men. The men couple an additional car to the train, and two Russian men replace the Germans who are killed by shots to the head. Meanwhile, Gereon Rath, a morphine addict and World War I veteran who worked as a police inspector in Cologne is transferred to Berlin. He and his new partner, Bruno Wolter, visit a photographic studio which is actually a pornographic film set and production studio. As they arrest Johann König, the owner, another man flees, and shoots at Gereon, but is subdued by Bruno. Bruno lets him go since the man is Franz Krajewski, one of his informants. He fought in World War I and was fired from his job as a policeman because he overreacted in a shoot-out, due to his PTSD. Franz goes to a therapist (Dr Schmidt), revealing that the police arrested König and are looking for "the film". The therapist later meets with a mysterious man, referred to only as "The Armenian". The Armenian says he will take care of the film. At the police station, Gereon bumps into Charlotte Ritter after stepping out of a paternoster lift. She works as an archivist at the homicide division in order to provide for her family who live under pitiable conditions. She and Gereon part ways after gathering up their respective files they had dropped. Two Trotskyists named Kardakov and Svetlana receive a telegram at a printing shop, alerting them that the train will arrive soon.
2"Episode 2"13 October 2017 (2017-10-13)
Gereon interrogates Johann König, who had been tortured by a mysterious man before the interrogation. König seizes the inspector's handgun and wants to shoot Gereon, but after Gereon convinces him that his situation is hopeless, Johann commits suicide instead. This triggers Gereon's PTSD, so he rushes to nearby toilets to take some morphine, but is unable to do so because of his heavy trembling. Charlotte, in the neighbouring stall, finds him and helps him take his drugs. After this incident, Gereon phones with his father, who is disappointed that the film has not been found, and urges his son to destroy it, should it reappear. Gereon and Bruno are summoned into the office of August Benda, head of the police, to explain why König was injured after Bruno's interrogation, but neither of them tells the truth. Benda has a private conversation with Gereon and asks him why he had been transferred. Gereon admits that his friend Konrad Adenauer, the mayor of Cologne, was blackmailed with a film that is said to be in Berlin. Adenauer asked Gereon to find it before the upcoming elections. Gereon finds Krajewski, who cannot tell him anything about the film. At night, Charlotte visits the Moka Efti, a popular variety theatre. She listens to a singer called Nikoros, who is actually Svetlana in disguise. Charlotte follows one of the patrons to the club's basement, which houses a brothel where she works as a prostitute to supplement her family's income. Svetlana's fellow Trotskyists at the printery are killed by the same men who ambushed the train, but miss Kardakov, who is hiding in the latrine.
3"Episode 3"20 October 2017 (2017-10-20)
The Russian train arrives in Berlin. Svetlana appears at the railway and tells the driver that the last car will be redirected to Paris instead of Istanbul as originally planned. When the driver gets suspicious, Svetlana threatens him with a gun, but gets stopped by German rail workers and is arrested. The driver goes to Kardakov's boardinghouse, which happens to now be Gereon's. The next day, Benda says during a speech that communist associations have planned to demonstrate on 1 May even though such rallies have been banned in Berlin. When Gereon refuses to tell Bruno anything about his conversation with Benda, Bruno gets angry and arranges that the two of them will oversee the demonstrations together. Gereon returns to his rooming house, where he finds the landlady, Elisabeth Behnke, gagged. He and the Russian engine driver get into a fistfight, and Gereon is able to throw him over a balcony. When the driver then gets kidnapped on the street, Gereon tries to intervene, but fails to save him. The driver gets taken to a warehouse where he is questioned by Trokhin, the Soviet ambassador. The driver admits that the train is loaded with a large number of gold bars belonging to Sorokin.
4"Episode 4"20 October 2017 (2017-10-20)
Gereon and Bruno search the apartments of alleged communists during demonstrations, but find no incriminating evidence. As they leave, a large convoy of policemen begins randomly firing at the crowds which horrifies Gereon. He and Bruno flee into a nearby house where two civilian women standing on a balcony are hit by bullets and seriously wounded. Gereon is able to find Dr. Volcker, a female doctor who treats poor people and is a member of the KPD. Later, Gereon and Charlotte, who now compiles reports, go to the morgue to examine the body of the Russian engine driver. Charlotte points out how the victim's bruises are even and that he therefore probably did not die from natural circumstances. Gereon recognises the corpse as that of the man who had broken into his apartment. Charlotte meets Greta, an old friend, and takes her to the Moka Efti. Bruno meets Charlotte at the Moka Efti and asks her to spy on Gereon.
5"Episode 5"27 October 2017 (2017-10-27)
Kardakov is shot by Svetlana after she calls the Soviets to her apartment. Dr. Volcker leads a mass rally in front of the police station protesting the killings during the riot, and the police hold a press conference claiming self-defence but decorate a police officer accidentally shot by his toddler. Gereon continues to investigate the picture. Following Gereon's tip, Charlotte breaks into Svetlana's apartment to investigate and finds a book dropped by Kardakov. Kardakov tells the Armenian about the Sorokin gold. Gereon and Charlotte interview Trechkov, who gives them the address for the Red Fortress printing house.
6"Episode 6"27 October 2017 (2017-10-27)
Kardakov goes to the Armenian for help. Ketelbach asks Gereon for help to investigate the wounded police officer. Stefan invites Charlotte and Greta to the rowing club where Greta meets Fritz, a KPD member. Gereon struggles writing a favourable police report of the riot shooting, despite pressure from Zorgiebel. Major General Seegers discusses Operation Prangertag on Nyssen's family estate. Bruno helps Gereon find Krajewski, who take him into custody for questioning. Kardakov goes with the Armenian and his men to the trainyard to find the gold, but accidentally releases poison gas from the mislabelled railcar.
7"Episode 7"3 November 2017 (2017-11-03)
Greta is employed by Benda despite her inexperience. Dr Schmidt conducts a lecture on PTSD, which is denounced by the audience. A mysterious priest provides a barbiturate to the pharmacist to give to Gereon. Charlotte investigates the Anhalter freight yard as the railcars are being inspected by the Soviets. Benda takes over the inspection with police officers, who informs Gereon that he is investigating illegal weapons imports by the Black Reichswehr. Charlotte goes with Stefan to investigate the Red Fortress printer. Bruno invites Gereon to a Black Reichswehr gathering which show stab-in-the-back myth beliefs. Gereon recounts being captured on the front line after carrying his brother from no man's land.
8"Episode 8"3 November 2017 (2017-11-03)
Nyssen is interrogated by Benda about the chemical weapons. Benda's family goes on a vacation, so Benda has dinner alone with Greta. Krajewski divulges the location of the film to Gereon and Bruno. Gereon breaks into the safe in the Armenian's private room at the Moka Efti, and escapes with the films after a shootout with the Armenian's men. Gereon and Bruno destroy the films after watching several known politicians on the films, including Gereon's father. Gereon and Bruno celebrate the success of the investigation, but the Armenian's contacts drug Gereon. Gereon is pursued by the priest before losing consciousness.

Season 2 (2017)

The second-season episodes were written and directed by Henk Handloegten, Achim von Borries, and Tom Tykwer.

No.TitleOriginal release date
1"Episode 9"10 November 2017 (2017-11-10)
A mass grave of fifteen bodies from the Red Fortress print shop is discovered and Gereon is assigned to Homicide to investigate the execution-style murders. Charlotte provides Gereon with the waybill showing the original railcar number of the Sorokin gold. The Homicide investigation team identifies the mysterious priest as Saint Joseph Wilczek, who was found killed. Nyssen is released from prison in time to attend a Nyssen AG Board meeting, only to discover he has been removed from the Board by his mother. Helga and Moritz surprise Gereon by arriving in Berlin after his brother Anno is officially declared killed in action.
2"Episode 10"10 November 2017 (2017-11-10)
Gereon and Helga re-kindle their relationship, but Moritz does not approve. At the Moka Efti, Charlotte eavesdrops on a meeting between Trokhin, Wendt and Zorgiebel regarding the seized train. Greta talks to Fritz who is walking in the funeral procession for the women shot during the riot. Gereon arrests Soviet embassy attachés Selenski and Fallin after finding ballistic evidence tying the Soviets to the massacre. Stefan spies on a meeting where Wendt divulges the location of the train. Benda and Gereon confront Trokhin with the massacre evidence, where Benda offers Trokhin a deal to cover up the incident in exchange for information on the Black Reichswehr personnel responsible for the illegal arms shipments. Böhm investigates the Saint Josef murder. Stefan is killed by unknown attackers.
3"Episode 11"17 November 2017 (2017-11-17)
In exchange for releasing Selenski and Fallin, Trokhin provides Gereon evidence that Beck and Seegers have been developing a secret German Air Force in Lipetsk. Following a tip off from the Armenian Gereon listens to a radio broadcast by Dr Schmidt, discussing psychiatric treatment. Gereon and Graf fly to Lipetsk to get photographic evidence of the secret airbase. Gereon recalls memories of himself killing Saint Josef. Benda informs Minister Stresemann of the Black Reichswehr investigation, who is aware and sympathetic to the cause.
4"Episode 12"17 November 2017 (2017-11-17)
Moritz finds Stefan's body. Homicide detectives question Gereon and Bruno after ballistics evidence shows the same gun killed Saint Josef and Stefan, while Gereon and Bruno suspect each other. Gereon moves Helga and Moritz out of Bruno's home to a hotel. Fritz visits Greta in Benda's house. Gereon asks Charlotte to help translate Stefan's shorthand diary after finding it in Bruno's house. Charlotte is kidnapped by unknown assailants.
5"Episode 13"24 November 2017 (2017-11-24)
Charlotte is brought to the Armenian and locked in the Moka Efti fridge when she cannot answer questions about the Sorokin gold. Behnke discovers the import authorization form for the train dropped underneath Gereon's bed at the rooming house. Benda convinces the Prussian Court to authorise an arrest of Seegers, Beck and other members of the Black Reichswehr. Bruno shows Moritz how to shoot a rifle after he finds an arms cache in the Wolters' apartment block basement. Benda and Gereon interrogate the Black Reichswehr. Bruno and the Black Reichswehr set Operation Prangertag in motion, a government coup to install Erich Ludendorff as Chancellor and restore the monarchy. Greta sees Fritz get shot by police outside the KPD office. Gereon questions Svetlana about the Sorokin gold. After reading a detailed article by Katelbach on the Black Reichswehr, Gereon goes with Katelbach to meet his informant.
6"Episode 14"24 November 2017 (2017-11-24)
Katelbach's informant is murdered before the meeting with Gereon. Gereon and Benda interrogate General Seegers before all the arrested officers are released. Otto tells Greta that Benda's men killed Fritz and she says she will do anything to get revenge. As part of Operation Prangertag, Bruno and Sheer attempt the assassination of the German and French foreign ministers, but are unsuccessful. Charlotte translates Stefan's diary and informs the Armenian of the train robbery. President Hindenburg arrives at the press conference and removes General Seegers and orders the train to be returned to the Soviet Union.
7"Episode 15"1 December 2017 (2017-12-01)
Gereon and Charlotte inform Benda of the train robbery and attempt to intercept the robbery against Benda's orders. Greta lets Otto plant a bomb in Benda's home office. Charlotte is shown to drown as the car that she is riding in with Gereon gets run off the road by Bruno into a lake. Greta arms the bomb and tries to flee Berlin, but changes her mind as she runs into Fritz at the train station, now dressed in a SA uniform. Greta runs back to the Benda house but is too late to stop the bomb from detonating.
8"Episode 16"1 December 2017 (2017-12-01)
It is revealed that Gereon managed to revive Charlotte after her apparent drowning. Henning and Czerwinski pick up Gereon and board the train. Bruno and the Black Reichswehr halt the train, but they are ambushed by the Armenian's gang. Gereon confronts Bruno on the train and discovers that the gold is actually fake. Henning and Czerwinski incapacitate the Armenian gang with anaesthetic while Bruno starts the train. After fighting with Gereon on top of the train, Bruno is killed after causing a gas explosion. Wendt becomes the new Head of the Political Police and wants Gereon to unofficially lead a new covert Internal Review department that investigates internal political crimes and corruption. Charlotte becomes a deputy homicide detective. Observing the Sorokin painting in Svetlana's apartment, Gereon and Charlotte deduce that the train was made of gold. In Paris, Kardakow watches Svetlana sing in a cabaret. Gereon is attacked by a KPD group led by Dr. Volcker but is rescued by the Armenian and taken to Dr. Schmidt. Under hypnosis, Gereon realises the truth: that he did not attempt to rescue his brother Anno, who was injured in no-man's-land, but that he in fact ran away. The badly scarred Dr Schmidt is actually Gereon's brother, Anno.

Season 3 (2020)

No.TitleOriginal release date
1"Episode 17"24 January 2020 (2020-01-24)

Season 3 begins with a dreamlike sequence of Rath walking through the Berlin stock exchange building, which is in chaos at the first financial collapse of the Great Depression. Nyssen looks on with satisfaction, with Helga Rath at his side. Flashback to five weeks earlier. Rath has recovered from his PTSD. Charlotte tries to visit Greta in prison, but she does not want to see her. Walter Weintraub is fingerprinted and released from prison. A car is waiting for him with a woman named Vera: he blindfolds her, takes her for a drive to the Babelsberg studios, and has violent sex with her in the car. At the set of a new sound film, a hooded figure boobytraps a spotlight, which falls and kills the film's star, Betty Winter. The film's producer, Bellman, informs the Armenian of the incident.

Charlotte aces her crime-scene reenactment exam, but later stumbles over a technical detail and is failed by Ullrich, despite worse-performing male candidates. At the film studio, Bellman tries to get Rath to declare the death an accident. Weintraub is greeted affectionately at the home of his business partner, Edgar (the Armenian). Nyssen and his mother are reassured that the stock market is booming, and she wants to make a large investment. Nyssen tells Wegener that he is bipolar and predicts a coming stock market crash, which he blames on Jewish financial manipulation. He orders Wegener to illegally obtain the client lists of the major banks. Helga goes for a pregnancy test. Rath reviews the footage of Winter's death and notices that one actress, Tilly Brooks, was acting strangely. Edgar and Weintraub visit Moka Efti, which has been damaged in an explosion. Edgar thinks that the explosion and Winter's death were not accidents, but has covered the murder up as their million-dollar investment is at stake. Charlotte and her sister, Toni, clean up after their messy co-tenant. Instead of going home to Helga, Rath has another session with Dr. Schmidt.
2"Episode 18"24 January 2020 (2020-01-24)
Rath and Helga argue. Weintraub and Edgar's wife, Esther, are shown kissing. Greta goes on trial, where Benda's widow gives passionate testimony against her. Rath discovers that Wendt has ordered to seal Greta's files. Meanwhile, Wendt tries to get Commissioner Zörgiebel to resign by threatening another trial about the police shootings of communists. The police find out that the electrician in charge of the spotlight that killed Winter had been impersonated by a former co-worker, Felix Krempin. The death is deemed a murder, and therefore insurance will not cover the losses. Charlotte's sister tells her that their mother left something for her at a former neighbor's. Tilly Brooks tells Rath that she saw a ghostlike man in a cloak when the spotlight fell, and confesses to Charlotte that she overheard Winter argue with her husband, co-star Tristan Rot, about going to America. Rath confronts Wendt about Greta, and he tells Rath to focus instead on Hans Litten, a Communist Party lawyer, who he says is demanding that Zörgiebel be put on trial. Edgar and his banker (who is Esther's brother-in-law) argue over each losing $1 million on the film. Helga is given a key to an expensive hotel suite under her maiden name. Meanwhile, her son is recruited by the Hitler Youth. Rath shares his suspicions with Charlotte that Wendt is covering up for the Nazis and they agree to try to help Greta. A Nazi party organizer, Stennes, meets with Wendt at his estate and tells him he must handle the threat of Greta's testifying against the Nazis or there will be no more assistance. Weintraub and Edgar pressure Bellman to complete the film. Rath arrests Krempin, who admits to sabotage but denies killing Winter, before being shot dead by a cloaked figure.
3"Episode 19"31 January 2020 (2020-01-31)

Helga moves with Moritz to the hotel. Heymann, the editor of Tempo magazine, axes Katelbach's piece on Lufthansa's connection to the Reichswehr in favour of the more sensational the Betty Winter murder story, with the murderer dubbed The Phantom. Sebald locates Greta's child in an orphanage and takes custody in Wendt's name. Esther strategizes about the film with Bellman. Gennat gives a lecture to reporters on crime statistics, but the press is only interested in the Winter case. Wegener, posing as a securities auditor, gathers investment information from various middle-class people, including Böhm. They have all bought stocks on loaned money, and Nyssen realises that a collapse is inevitable. Menacingly, Wendt shows Greta her baby through a prison window. Ullrich tries to tell Gennat about a ballistics match on the Krempin gun but is shut down for violating the chain of command. Katelbach receives a confidential document in a clandestine exchange. Weintraub gets rough with the insurance adjustor who has denied Edgar's claim. Weintraub and Edgar argue over the latter's running of their business empire.

Recasting of Winter's role begins at Babelsberg. Rath interrogates Tristan Rot, who admits to an occult connection with Krempin. The cloak is Rot's costume for the film. A seamstress admits that Krempin got her to steal a copy of it, but confirms his alibi for Winter's murder. Tilly Brooks is cast in Winter's role. Edgar wants to co-operate with Rath to find the killer, and informs him that Dr. Schmidt's PTSD cure comes with a price. Vera, who had also wanted the starring role, locks Tilly in the dressing room. The producers, angered by her not showing up on the set, replace Tilly with Vera. Tilly is killed by the cloaked figure, whom Charlotte then sees escaping from the window to the courtyard.
4"Episode 20"31 January 2020 (2020-01-31)
Greta recants her testimony, now stating that Communists rather than Nazis incited her to plant the bomb. Charlotte tells her superiors about her insights regarding the Phantom case. Gennat lectures her about protocol, and assigns Böhm to lead the investigation in Rath's place. In prison, Greta is attacked by Dr. Völcker, who tries to find out why she recanted. Czerwinski and Henning learn from the studio's beverage suppliers that Rot had the key to the studio courtyard just before the murder. When they leave, they are watched by a mysterious man. Amongst Krempin's belongings, Rath finds a box of occult items and a secret invitation to a ceremony at Rot's house. Ilse finds out she needs an expensive eye surgery. Charlotte is given a bundle of her mother's letters by the former neighbour and finds a postcard from "E", who may be her real father. On her way home, she sees Helga enter the hotel. Helga meets with Nyssen, who offers to let her use the suite, which belongs to his family, for as long as she wants. Rath asks Henning to find Helga. At Rath's bidding, Gräf accesses the archives to photograph Greta's interrogation. The archive attendant remembers him from the red-light district and forces him to give oral sex. Later, Gräf and Rath look at the photos and notice Katelbach's name on a secret list compiled by the political police. Over drinks, Gräf tells Rath about how Gennat pulled him off the street and got him a job as police photographer. They dance together drunkenly. Charlotte goes dancing with Vera, who is her old friend from Moka Efti. She encourages Charlotte to go find "E" and comes onto her.
5"Episode 21"7 February 2020 (2020-02-07)

Rath, Böhm and Charlotte attend the secret gathering at Tristan Rot's house. Masked and cloaked, they watch as Dr. Schmidt summons Betty Winter's soul, before Böhm breaks the ceremony up with a gunshot. Schmidt scurries off, seen by Rath (who calls him "Anno") and gives Rath a hypnotic command to forget he saw him. Rath meets with Katelbach and admits that he was toeing the company line when he gave his testimony in the Zörgiebel case. Rath warns him that his name is on the secret list along with Litten's. Katelbach tells him about a manuscript proving Lufthansa's illegal financing of the Reichswehr and warns him not to trust anybody.

In an interrogation, Rot tells that he needed access to the courtyard as part of the process of reconnecting with Winter's soul. Edgar and Weintraub meet with rival gangs and accuse them of trying to sabotage their operation, which they deny. The mysterious man from the beverage supplier is there. Helga and Nyssen have coffee, and he says he believes they were fated to meet.

Böhm gives Charlotte a menial assignment, but Rath tells her to instead investigate the secret list. A Nazi active named Horst Kessler, whose name is on the list, hires sex worker Erna for the day with plans to rescue her from her pimp. In court, Greta is sentenced to death and refuses appeal. Rath sees Wendt whisper to Benda's widow. Charlotte is upset by the sentence and disappointed by Rath's reaction. She tells him that she saw Helga enter the hotel. Rath finds only Moritz is there. Katelbach takes Elisabeth into his confidence. She rebuffs his sexual advances. Dr. Völcker is assigned to Greta's cell.
6"Episode 22"7 February 2020 (2020-02-07)

Wendt's henchmen raid the offices of Tempo and beat up Heymann. Katelbach flees with the documents. General Seegers' daughter, Marie-Luise (MaLu), who is a law student and volunteers in Litten's office, reluctantly agrees to attend Madame Nyssen's party with him and her sister. Helga refuses to let Moritz attend a Nazi Youth outing.

Two names, NSDAP members Richard Pechtmann and Horst Kessler, stand out on the secret list and Rath discovers that they are Otto and Fritz's real names. Litten agrees to take Greta's case pro bono , and Charlotte offers to help at the office in return. Kessler and Pechtmann search Elisabeth's apartment. She hides Katelbach and delivers the documents to Heymann. Helga finds out that she's pregnant. Pretending to be a Nazi, Rath breaks into Kessler's rooms and finds Erna who tells him Kessler is at a Hitler Youth camp.

At the Nyssen soirée, MaLu discusses politics with Wendt. Wendt proposes allowing the Nazis to create civil unrest to further the conservatives' plans; the General disagrees. Minister Stresemann suddenly walks in and asserts that the monarchists and the military should work together. Moritz asks to move in with Rath and gives him a letter from Helga asking him to let her go. Weintraub denies the lead role of the film from Esther. Charlotte confronts Vera about her relationship with Weintraub, and she admits that he told her to lie that they were together when Winter was murdered.
7"Episode 23"14 February 2020 (2020-02-14)
Nyssen admits to Dr. Schmidt that revenge is the reason for his obsession with Jewish financiers. Unable to find Rath, Charlotte asks Czerwinski and Henning to put surveillance on Weintraub without telling Böhm. Litten enters an appeal for Greta and the judge calls Wendt. Rath arrests Pechtmann, but Greta denies recognising him. Ullrich goes over Tilly's possessions and in a locket finds a hair that belongs to Weintraub. Toni wants to buy budgies from a street vendor but does not have the money. Nyssen describes to the General's group how the manipulation of over-extended small investors is about to cause the economy to collapse and suggests that, by short-selling massive amounts of stock, they will make billions, which will create an opportunity to change society radically. Wendt is interested, but the others scoff. Later, a poker game reveals the mutual distrust brewing within the group. Czerwinski and Henning observe Weintraub arriving at Babelsberg and ordering his men to protect Vera. Rath and Charlotte arrive at the studio as well. The Phantom kills Vera's guard and injures her. Rath intervenes but is also injured, and the Phantom escapes. A disoriented Vera appears on a catwalk above the soundstage. Charlotte rushes to comfort her. The Phantom appears and throws her off the catwalk. The Phantom carries Vera to the roof and jumps off with her. His mask comes off, revealing Weintraub.
8"Episode 24"14 February 2020 (2020-02-14)

Pechtmann meets with Wendt to blackmail him, but is killed by him instead. A seriously injured Weintraub lies in hospital; Rath is also being treated there. Gennat publicly announces that the murderer has been caught, although his identity is not revealed. Esther tries to convince Edgar that Weintraub cannot be the murderer, and confesses their affair. Charlotte visits Rath in the hospital, where Helga walks in on them. Helga tells him about the pregnancy and Rath confronts her about Nyssen. Angry, she insists that the baby is Rath's. Moritz goes on a hunting trip with the Hitler Youth and swears allegiance to Hitler. The prison warden notifies Litten that Greta's execution has been scheduled even though the appeal has not been processed. She is confused when Greta denies Litten is her lawyer. Greta confides in Dr. Völcker that she lied because of threats to her child.

Katelbach's article about the Reichswehr/Lufthansa illegal arms deal is published, causing him to be sued for treason. Elisabeth suggests that they marry. MaLu runs into Wendt at a restaurant. Charlotte cannot afford the doctor's fees for Ilse's surgery, but is given the name of a cheaper doctor by his nurse. Toni bumps into Peter on the street and is offered a job reading books for a rich "uncle". Wendt calls Nyssen and says he will persuade the General's group if Nyssen asks his mother for 100 million to invest in the short-buy scheme. During a power outage, Edgar visits Rath in hospital and seeks confirmation that Weintraub is guilty. Dr. Schmidt revives Weintraub with electroshocks. He tells Edgar that the real Phantom pushed Vera and him off the roof and admits to loving Esther. Helga arranges for an illegal abortion. Charlotte performs in a sex show to earn money for Ilse's surgery. Edgar confronts Esther about loving Weintraub as the police arrive to search their house.
9"Episode 25"21 February 2020 (2020-02-21)
Esther is brought in to finish the film, while helping Weintraub hide and recover at the studio. Police interrogate Edgar while conducting a city-wide search for Weintraub. Charlotte takes Ilse to meet the eye doctor for surgery. Horst pays Ali to release Erna, but Wendt's henchman tells Horst to get rid of her. Wendt questions Rath about Katelbach and gets a warrant to search Elisabeth's place. Nyssen forges a document to obtain power of attorney from his mother, and enters into a three-month short futures contract with the bank. Rath talks to Helga about Moritz and gets into a fight with Nyssen. Litten takes on Katelbach's treason charge and without Litten's knowledge, Malu offers to provide secret Reichswehr plans to Elisabeth for Katelbach's case.
10"Episode 26"21 February 2020 (2020-02-21)
The homicide department brings in Dr. Schmidt to conduct a psychic reading to find Weintraub. On a follow-up inspection on the roof of the film studios, Rath finds a bloody knife. Rath searches for the missing Pechtmann, and discovers his wife and child. Charlotte convinces Greta to accept Litten's representation. Nyssen's mother is furious when he tells her of the current 11 million Reichsmarks loss on the 106 million Reichsmarks futures position. After reading to her patron, Toni is asked to take a bath with the door open. Ali shoots Horst during a Hitler Youth meeting which Moritz attended. Charlotte asks Cziczewicz about Toni, and stumbles on Helga's illegal abortion. Charlotte confronts Toni about her new birds and how they were purchased. Ullrich plants a fingerprint on the newly discovered knife.
11"Episode 27"28 February 2020 (2020-02-28)
Ullrich approaches Gosztony with evidence that ties him to the Krempin murder. Ullrich shows Rath that Weintraub's fingerprints are on the discovered knife, but Charlotte points out that the attacker wore gloves. Wendt is given Benda's diary by his widow; it proves that Zörgiebel ordered the police to start shooting during the 1 May riots. Nyssen attempts suicide, but is saved by Helga. Wendt uses the diary to force Zörgiebel to resign. Ilse's surgery has made her almost blind, and Charlotte is blamed for arranging it. Malu gives photographic evidence to Elisabeth, who forwards it to Rath. Charlotte inspects Weintraub's fingerprints and points out the suspected forgery to Ullrich, who knocks her unconscious. Ullrich kills his assistant when he sees unconscious Charlotte and gives her a lethal insulin injection. Rath stumbles upon Ullrich hiding the bodies and is stabbed with insulin as well. Ullrich then takes Gennat hostage and pretends to conduct a lecture in the auditorium. Ullrich reveals that the Gosztony brothers wanted to bankrupt the film production as revenge against Edgar for cutting out Sandor's tongue and feeding it to his brother, and that Ullrich conspired to falsify the police evidence and frame Weintraub. Rath recovers and finds Charlotte, who is still alive. Gräf arranges for back-up, and he and Rath rescue Gennat, while Charlotte is treated by doctors.
12"Episode 28"28 February 2020 (2020-02-28)
Stresemann has a fatal heart attack while talking with Wendt. Rath goes to arrest the Gosztony brothers but Bela escapes. Edgar and Weintraub kill Sandor while he is in police custody. Weintraub prepares to leave the Kasabian house, but Esther convinces him otherwise. Litten obtains a stay of execution for Greta after finding a special decree from Kaiser Wilhelm, but Charlotte is prevented from stopping the execution in time. Rath gets Wendt to admit to orchestrating the Benda murder and expediting Greta's execution as a cover-up, while Gräf secretly records the conversation. Charlotte visits the inn referenced in the postcards to her mother, where the guestbook mentions an "Erwin Trollmann". Charlotte discovers she may be related to a boxer named Rukeli Trollmann. Zörgiebel resigns and Greszinski becomes Chief of Police, much to Wendt's frustration. Toni objects to Charlotte's control and prefers to live on the street. The film is finished and has a successful premiere. As Nyssen predicted, Wall Street collapses and throws the Berlin Stock Exchange into chaos. At the stock exchange, Böhm, who had borrowed heavily in the stock market, is talked out of suicide by Rath. To his shock, Rath encounters Helga and Nyssen, and the first scene from the beginning of the season is repeated.

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes the first season holds approval rating of 100% based on 30 reviews, with the critics consensus reading: "Babylon Berlin's humor and humanity pair nicely with its hypnotic visuals, resulting in a show that dazzles within its oversaturated genre." [36] As of April 2019, Babylon Berlin was the highest rated non-English language show on Sky TV. [9]

Carolin Ströbele of Die Zeit praised the pilot, saying that it "is highly dynamic and unites sex, crime and history in a pleasantly unobtrusive manner." [37] Christian Buss, cultural critic from Der Spiegel , praised the series for staying true to the tradition of "typically German angst cinema", in the vein of 1920s silent movies such as Fritz Lang's Metropolis or Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr Caligari . "It could be that Babylon Berlin is the first big German TV production since Das Boot which enjoys really relevant success abroad. Let's not be shy to say it: we [Germans] are big again – as the world champions of angst." [23]

Accolades

The series itself received several awards in 2018. These included a Bambi in the category Beste Serie des Jahres (Best series of the year), [38] four awards at the Deutscher Fernsehpreis (best dramatical series; best cinematography for Frank Griebe, Bernd Fischer and Philip Haberlandt; best musical score for Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer; and best production design for Pierre-Yves Gayraud and Uli Hanisch), [39] a special Bavarian TV Award [40] and a Romy for TV event of the year. [41] In the same year, everyone majorly involved with the production of the series won a Grimme-Preis, including Volker Bruch, Liv Lisa Fries, Peter Kurth, the three directors and several members of the technical team. [42] Bruch also won a Goldene Kamera in the category Best German actor for his portrayal of Gereon Rath. [43]

The series' opening title sequence, created by German designer Saskia Marka and featuring a theme composed by Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer, was named the best title sequence of 2018 by industry website Art of the Title. [44]

In December 2019, the European Film Academy awarded the series with the inaugural Achievement in Fiction Series Award at the European Film Awards. [8]

Awards

YearAwardCategoryNominee(s)ResultRef.
2017 Camerimage Best PilotBabylon BerlinNominated
2018 Adolf Grimme Awards Outstanding PilotBabylon BerlinWon
Bambi Awards Best Television Show – NationalBabylon BerlinWon
Best Actress – National Liv Lisa Fries Nominated
Best Actor – National Peter Kurth Nominated
Bavarian TV Awards Special AwardBabylon BerlinWon
German Television Academy AwardsBest Costume DesignPierre-Yves GayraudWon
Best Make UpKerstin Gaecklein, Roman BraunhoferWon
Best Score Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek Won
Best Visual EffectsRobert PinnowWon
Best StuntsDana SteinWon
Best EditorDana SteinNominated
German Screen Actors AwardsBest Supporting Actress Leonie Benesch Won
Best Leading Actor Peter Kurth Nominated
German Television Awards Best SeriesBabylon BerlinWon
Best Cinematography Frank Griebe, Bernd Fischer, Philipp HaberlandtWon
Best MusicJohnny Klimek, Tom TykwerWon
Best Production and Costume DesigePierre-Yves Gayraud (costume designer), Uli Hanisch (production designer)Won
Best Directing for a Movie Made for Television or MiniseriesTom Tykwer, Henk Handloegten, Achim von Borries Nominated
Best ActressLiv Lisa FriesNominated
Best ActorPeter KurthNominated
Best EditingAlexander Berner, Claus Wehlisch, Antje ZyngaNominated
Golden Camera Awards Best German Actor Volker Bruch Won
Golden Umbrella Television AwardsBest CinematographyBernd Fischer, Philipp Haberlandt, Frank GriebeWon [45]
Best DirectorAchim von Borries, Tom Tykwer, Henk HandloegtenWon
Best CastingSimone BärWon
Magnolia Awards Best International Television ShowBabylon BerlinWon
Ondas Awards Best International Television SeriesBabylon BerlinWon
Romy Gala AwardsTelevision Event of the YearBabylon BerlinWon
Seoul International Drama Awards Grand PrizeBabylon BerlinWon
2019 European Film Awards European Achievement in Fiction Series AwardBabylon BerlinWon [8]
SXSW Film Design Award Excellence in Title DesignSaskia MarkaNominated
2020German Camera AwardsBest CinematographyChristian Almesberger, Bernd Fischer, Philipp HaberlandtNominated
German Screen Actors AwardsBest Supporting Actor Lars Eidinger Nominated
German Television AwardsBest Drama SeriesBabylon BerlinNominated
Location Managers Guild Awards Outstanding Locations in Period TelevisionDavid PieperNominated [46]
Romy Gala AwardsFavorite Actor in a Series Karl Markovics Nominated [47]
Rose d'Or Best DramaBabylon BerlinWon [48]

See also

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Further reading